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I recently read a book from 1998, by Spencer Johnson, entitled “Who Moved My Cheese?” I had not read it for the longest time, but I had known of it, and occasionally imagined what it might say. After many years, I read it, and of course I was disappointed that it was different than I thought it would be.

I also find the actual book awfully simplistic and patronizing.  This is not uncommon, as the business environment seems to cater to the successful, who in reality have little to attribute their success to except for raw chance.  They often imagine that they are special people with terrific insight, and those who fail do so from the most rude doltishness, or an incapacity to reckon, in this case, at the level of house pests.

The list of rather vapid teachings that the book summarizes is attached. 

1. Change Happens
They keep moving the cheese
2. Anticipate Change
Get ready for the cheese to move
3. Monitor Change
Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old
4. Adapt To Change Quickly
The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese
5. Change
Move with the cheese
6. Enjoy Change!
Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!
7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
They keep moving the cheese.

A more valuable observation is – why do we need patronizing and simplistic parables to survive in the workplace? This is a much harder and serious question.

The “Cheese Gospel” is similar to the ideas “Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum (EXCERPTS, PURCHASE LINK).  That book, alone, is testimony to the vapidity of the American workspace because by and large, its postulates are true.  Paradoxically, its very tenets are held as common wisdom by the working-class folks.  The bigshots know to sidestep a lot of them, as opiates for the masses, in a sense. 

(As a pathetic surprise in our American history, it’s cruel fate and stupidity that brought our American culture, which is foreign and inimical to Marxism, has changed to now legitimize some sorrowfully Marxist principles.  If we can intellectually downsize to rodent-level thought, I suppose we can even downsize to Marxist Principles.  The Marxist would perhaps discuss the parables above as reiterating the shackles of conservative bourgeois values.)

The American Workplace is a vile synthesis of bad Fordism, worse Taylorism, and execrable Marxist values, bundled up to make a mind-numbing farce.a